Having the opportunity to catch up with people of whom you have a great appreciation of their music and talent is one of the many perks of doing this job. Meeting the myriad of interesting characters and hearing tales of note that are mentioned lends an air of intrigue and downright enjoyment to an otherwise normal life.
So when the opportunity arose to catch up with Chris Henderson, backstage on 3 Doors Down's Manchester leg of their tour, I leaped at the chance. I would like to say a huge thank you to MetalTalk, the label, the backstage team and indeed Chris himself for providing me the opportunity. There may have been a little mix up with the dates but even that little clerical error was swept away promptly and I cannot fault anybody involved.
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Anyway back to Chris and heading backstage, the first thing that struck me about this, can I add insanely nice guy, was the sheer comfortable and welcoming environment of his dressing room. I have done some interviews in my time where the locale was not ideal, even down a fire escape at a venue, but this time I may as well been conducting it in my home. Beautiful and chilled, this filled me with high hopes for the conversation to come. All this and I had barely got out a hello at this point.
Start at the beginning, it's always an excellent practice... So anyway Chris, how the hell was the Scotland leg of your tour my man?
"We love coming to the UK, and Scotland! The crowds here are so much more aggressive than they are in the States, the crowd surfing but they are also more appreciative of kind of what we do. Its not like, well in America people kind of give you this look like 'Where's the fire? How come you haven't said fuck?' whereas over here they don't really care about that stuff. It's more about the songs, the band and the romance between the two.
"The band to the fans and the fans to the band because we have this whole relationship with these people in the UK that we don't have with anyone else. The fans follow us on Twitter, they talk to us, they come to many shows. Its different cause they don't tend to do that in the States!"
So you heard it here first guys and girls, keep chatting to the guys on Twitter, they love it! So then what's different about the UK audience, if indeed anything you can put your finger on Chris?
"It's like you are there together. Like 'We are coming to play and they are coming to see us play'. We are all going to do the same thing. Like being on a football team, but in America it's not like that. It's very separate and you have to do a lot of different things to really get them hooked in that you don't have to do here. It can be just about the band. That's the way it should be!"
Have to stand in total agreement with that statement. This is what you go to see the guys for. Not for the 'What Katy did next?' stage to see how they are going to change it up but all about the music and the guys! As a band though Chris you have had phenomenal worldwide success, everybody and their mothers has heard of 3 Doors Down, massive success story. Can you attribute this to anything in particular?
"Well I think, one of the things we are kind of known for is playing a LOT of shows. Whether or not we are good at it I don't know."
Well I am bloody reviewing it my friend so hopefully it will be.
"...Hahahaha, well then it's based on what you think. So that I don't know but we do definitely get out there and do it. Give it our all! Get on a bus and we go, we fly, we fucking end up in this town, that town. We are here, and then here and tomorrow we are gonna be there. That's what it's all about, going after it relentlessly."
So to any new bands reading this firmly entrenched in their mind set that it's a short gigging process and then you make it?
"It's a bitch man! Can't do it like that."
I thought a nice little step in here would be to highlight the works that 3 Doors Down have done on the charitable stage. Many people worldwide know their music but few know just how deep their collective caring natures run. The Better Than Life foundation was started in 2003 and not a lot of people in this country know about this side to Chris and the guys, so I wanted to give him a little opportunity to let this be known further. So Chris, what's it all about?
"It's something we started eight years ago cause we had played a show for another charity and when it came down to it we had to pay a whole bunch of money out of our own pockets to play that show. It was in a sold out arena, 10,000 people, so it shouldn't of went like that and we were really pissed off about that but were like 'Well what can we do about it'. So we started our own foundation.
"The money that was supposed to be given to the charities for that one gig well they didn't get any money. So we said we are gonna do our own show and give our own money to those charities direct cause they got shit on last time. That's how we got started. We give to women's and children's charities. There are a lot of places that won't give to those; battered women's shelters, no-one gives to those. Only people that care are the people that are there, so if it is not part of your life you don't tend to feel obligated.
"Also give to children's charities that people tend to forget about like special needs homes for children coping with downs syndrome, living in assisted living. These places take care of these kids for a very long time and we appreciate this and give to those types of charities."
I honestly felt this had to be mentioned here as I believe that truly great bands and personalities have other aspects to their being. Their music and their public face are a couple of huge aspects but there is also things happening behind the scenes, like charitable work, that some bands don't beat you over the head with but deserve a spotlight shone upon them occasionally. On a personal note, thank you guys for all you are doing.
Right back to the music! Delving straight in, what's your favourite track from either the new album or the backcatalog (spelt in the American way in honour of our guest)?
"I got one on the new record man! 'Believer'! We are not a Metal, Metal band but that's kind of our tribute towards being a Metal band. We kind of wanted to be one when we grew up, but we just could never pull it off. We are all just so nice and our hair. We dress and don't cuss hahahaha. That song though is kind of our tribute to the Metal bands we loved when growing up. That's how that song ended up on the record and its fun as hell to play."
Whoa, whoa whoa! Which bands where those Chris? Can't slide by without elaborating now!
"Megadeth is one that all of us in the band can collectively say yeah to! Influenced us a lot! Being from a small town in Mississippi it was hard to get music there; no cable, no MTV, or a radio station. We would get these bands years after!"
So no embarrassing musical history here then! Right now for my trademark abstract questions! Which Hollywood actor would play you in a movie about 3 Doors Down Chris? Laughter ensues before an answer is decided upon.
"Chris Farley probably but he is gone so it might be hard to book him for it. Current actor obviously right?"
Yep Chris man, dead ones tend to be a bit wooden on set and don't respond to direction well, adlib like a bitch and are very hard to please!
"...George Clooney? Can I get George Clooney? Yeah I would like to get George Clooney to play me because I am the good looking one!"
Another weird yet staple question for me! Which live artist would you sacrifice to bring a dead one back to life and whom would you bring back?
"Wooooow! Ah man I don't wanna piss a lot of people off. Gotta really think about this one. I'm just friends with everyone..."
Justin Bieber has been one bandied about a lot; can I tempt you on that one Chris?
"You know man you gotta give that little fucker credit, he is doing it."
I could see the pressure of deciding between life and death for some random artist was getting to Chris so I decided to give him a free pass and allow his dead to walk without any sacrificing.
"Can I bring back more than one? Morrison and Hendrix for sure. And the Rev from Avenged Sevenfold, real tragedy when that guy passed."
Good choices methinks Chris! The question before makes the answer to this next question quite appropriate, which song do you wish you guys had written?
"Oh fuck, 'Stairway To Heaven' would be the first one, let's go with that one. 'White Christmas is another. 'Jingle Bells' would be another good one."
And the gig in world's history would you have loved to have attended?
"The Montrose Jazz Festival when Hendrix burnt his guitar. It would have been a better show for me to attend than say Woodstock."
Right this is the time to test his creativity now! If the National Inquirer was to produce a headline about 3 Doors Down, what would it probably read?
"I think it would be one of us probably having the first baby born to a guy. What I would like for us to happen? Cause nothing like this ever happens to us cause we are so down home and southern is one of us could marry a famous celebrity and have a little scandal."
On that note readers the door was knocked upon and our time was up. On the one hand such a sad thing as this guy I could have happily whiled away the hours talking about inane things and basking in the comfort of his dressing room. But on the other the show was to start very soon and I was about to have a fucking awesome time.
Chris Henderson, you have been a fucking delight and made my job that much easier in writing this up. Thank you dude.
"Thank you guys! You are very, very welcome."
What would get you to sign a contract for 3 Doors Down intergalactic gig?
"Three breasted alien females, hahahaha."
Horror, action or comedy?
Fast food or home-cooked?
"Depends on the day but I will go with home-cooked."
Cars or Motorbikes?
Sun or snow vacations?
CD or Digital Download?
"Downloads, legal downloads. Ease of access."
Football, Baseball, Basketball or Soccer?